Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

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Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

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The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Monday, January 5, 2015

GlobeAsia’s Man of the Year: Ahok, Indonesia’s Shooting Star

Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama has redefined the country’s political
landscape and is now working to transfrorm Jakarta. (GlobeAsia)

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, has seen his profile among the Indonesian public rise meteorically. Now he has the task of proving himself a worthy leader for the capital city after the departure of his predecessor as Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, for the presidency.

It has not been an easy path for GlobeAsia’s man of the year to sit where he is now. The native of Belitung, where he is one of the island’s roughly 30% of residents of Chinese descent, was formally installed as the 17th governor of Jakarta on November 19.

The former deputy governor finally took the oath as governor after political intrigue involving local lawmakers and protests from radical Muslim groups, who dislike the Christian taking charge of the Muslim-majority nation’s capital.

The inauguration marked a new milestone for Jakarta as he was the first Jakarta governor to be installed directly by the president and only the second – after Ali Sadikin – to be sworn in at the State Palace. The home affairs minister usually represents the president in inaugurating governors at their respective regional assemblies (DPRD) or at the ministry.

Ahok is a phenomenon in Indonesian politics not just because of his combative and outspoken style, which has drawn many supporters as well as detractors. He also represents a new milestone for inclusiveness since he is the first ever ethnic-Chinese governor of the capital and the first non-Muslim for 50 years.

The last non-Muslim governor of Jakarta was Henk Ngantung, who was appointed by Indonesia’s first President Sukarno in 1964. He lasted in office only for a year as he was swept out of power as a result of the tumultuous changes in the political constellation that engulfed the nation the following year.

While Indonesia is a Muslim-dominated nation, unlike many fellow Muslim countries in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world, the country is also a democracy, the third largest in the world. First is India, and then comes superpower the United States, which also has a long list of minorities serving as governors, including media darling Bobby Jindal, the 55th governor of Louisiana, an American Indian from the Republican Party.

This is a rare time for the Republican Party, typically more conservative than the Democrats, to host a figure such as Jindal. Like Ahok, the Louisiana governor is known as an outspoken leader who has pushed for comprehensive ethical reform that has required, among other steps, financial disclosure for elected and appointed government officials, an end to lavish lobbyist-funded meals and the prohibition of conflicts of interests in his battle against corruption.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, represents a new milestone
 for inclusiveness since he is the first ever ethnic-Chinese governor of the capital
 and the first non-Muslim for 50 years. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao).

Never under Jokowi’s shadow

On December 22, GlobeAsia’s Arientha Primanita had the honor of an exclusive interview at Ahok’s office at Jakarta City Hall. Before sitting down to speak with this magazine, Ahok spent some time looking at the paintings of former Jakarta governors hanging on the walls of the reception room. He asked his aide where his painting was likely to be hung once he had completed his term as Jakarta governor.

The man who began his professional career in the mining industry in the late 1980s also asked where was the picture of his predecessor, Jokowi. He nodded when his aide replied that the painting of Jokowi was still in process.

“These paintings are really good. They all look like photographs. I think the painting of my face will be different than my real face,” Ahok said with a laugh.

Ahok will be governor of Jakarta until 2017, finishing up the term of the Jokowi-Ahok pairing which won election back in 2012.

Then remains the question of whether he will want to run for a second term, and whether the people of Jakarta will want to vote for him if he does. That will depend to a large degree on what he can achieve in the next three years.

Ahok had never been under the shadow of the popular former mayor of Solo in Central Java. While Joko was roaming the back streets of Jakarta, in his by-now famous blusukan style of governance, meeting people and getting to know the issues they face directly, Ahok was back at City Hall, coming to grips with the internal issues of the Jakarta administration.

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama
 and his deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, at City
 Hall on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/
Andika Wahyu)
 Now, with newly installed deputy governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat in tow, Ahok still chooses to remain in his office in the main building of City Hall to receive guests, do his paperwork, lead meetings as well as make sure that all of the apparatus of the city is working properly.

Ahok deals with conflict in his own way, not like the calm and measured Jokowi. It is not unusual for the new governor’s hot-headed style to emerge in video footage in the news or on YouTube and sometimes his harsh comments draw an angry response from his opponents, including lawmakers.

Luhut Panjaitan, a former three-star general who is a close adviser to Jokowi, believes this is just the type of leader that Jakarta needs. “I don’t care about the issue of descent, religion or his style. Even if it was a ghost, but could get things done, I would choose it,” he said.

Jakarta has never been an easy city to govern. For many years, the public has been frustrated by the slow progress of development in a city famous for its legendary traffic jams, regular floods and messy spatial planning. At the same time the city is the business and financial hub of the nation, as well as the capital city.

Luhut said his sentiments reflect the frustration of the people of Jakarta, who have long dreamed about a firm leader who can introduce breakthroughs and create order in a city that should be the showpiece of the nation. “Ahok can provide such hope even without Jokowi at his side in Jakarta,” he said.

Asked about the status of his relationship with Jokowi, Ahok smiled and said he is a lucky governor as he has the Indonesian president as his good friend. He recalled traveling with Jokowi after he became president, when he was asked to join Joko on a visit to Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara on December 19.

Jokowi asked him to sit beside him in the presidential airplane on the journey. They discussed many things and caught up with each other’s news. Ahok said he believed that his close ties with the president, with whom he shared an office for two years, will bring benefits to Jakarta.

When he was deputy governor, he was one of the people who pushed Jokowi to run for the presidency. The problems of Jakarta could not be solved by any governor, but required a concerted effort from the central government and the surrounding provinces, he argued. “Now I have the president’s backing, I can just call him and report on what I need.”

Cleaning up the bureaucracy

Born in Manggar, East Belitung on June 29, 1966, Ahok began his career in politics as a regional legislator in East Belitung in 2004, then won election as the district head in 2005. It was there that he developed a reputation as a tough, action-oriented leader. The skills he learned there will be essential if he is to succeed in Jakarta.

He told GlobeAsia that Jakarta’s monumental traffic jams and severe flooding remain his main priorities for 2015. Getting officials to work is another priority: As might be expected, Ahok is no less firm than Jokowi when it comes to non-performing public officials. The former Solo mayor kicked aside the former head of the city’s Public Works Agency, Manggas Rudy Siahaan, for not performing well.

Ahok has also been very outspoken in pushing for improvement in the bureaucracy. He announced at the end of 2014 that he would purge more than a thousand officials. His aim is to see Jakarta’s roughly 72,000 civil servants working hard. There will be transparent selections for promotions and he plans to replace around 3,000 officials with new faces.

“There will be frictions because of this in 2015, but I am sure in 2016 our bureaucracy will run smoothly,” he said. On a more positive note as far as the officials are concerned, salaries of civil servants will increase to encourage them to provide improved services to the people. Urban ward chiefs, known as ‘lurah’ will get salaries of Rp25 million per month, recognizing their role as the leading edge of public services.

His other main priorities include better welfare, education and healthcare programs. “Our goal is to make your brain, stomach and wallet full. That’s what we want to do,” Ahok said, adding that he considered himself the chief servant of the Jakarta public.

As part of his programs to make Jakarta a better place to live, he has launched a smart city program that will accommodate and monitor reports and complaints from the public and then follow up on them. The program includes six dimensions: economy, mobility, environment, humanity, livelihood and administration.

The Jakarta administration also plans to install 4,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in every corner of the capital city, starting with 2,500 units this year. This will make it easier to monitor the roads and rivers and his subordinates. Jakarta citizens are also expected to contribute and access the information via smartphones.

Deputy Governor Djarot will get out on the road to carry on Jokowi’s blusukan style and meet people. Ahok has no concern that the former Blitar mayor’s popularity might eclipse his own. “The most important thing is we complete our mission for Jakarta. If Jakarta people think Djarot is better than me, it’s good. I get a better deputy governor than I was,” he said.

Can he survive?

While GlobeAsia talked to Governor Ahok, a noisy protest was taking place in front of City Hall on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan. Dozens of protestors, led by organizers shouting their complaints through loudspeakers opposing his policy on banning motorcycles from Jakarta’s main thoroughfares of Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat and Jl. MH Thamrin, designed to ease traffic congestion in the area.

The protestors were mainly motorcycle taxi drivers, known locally as “ojek,” from the Jakarta Transportation Front, or FrontJak. They slammed Ahok for hurting their incomes due to the ban, which is still in its trial stage.

Babak, the FrontJak coordinator, said the policy had hurt ojek drivers’ incomes. “There are more people buying cars. Does Ahok dare to forbid cars to pass? Why does he ban motorcycles and make ojek drivers’ lives miserable,” said the angry ojek driver.

Ahok and his blunt style has also been the target of regular protests from the hard-line Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI). While they say they oppose him because he is a Christian, they are also believed to be unwilling to accept him because of his Chinese ethnicity.

Salim bin Umar Alatas, the head of FPI’s Jakarta branch, has said Ahok is too arrogant to be a public official, and has called him “an enemy of Islam.”

The group’s protests included attacks on the Jakarta Regional Assembly (DPRD), calling for its members to oppose Ahok’s installation as governor. In early December, the FPI nominated Fahrurrozi Ishaq, a teacher of the Koran and FPI member, as their own ‘shadow’ Jakarta governor.

Criticism has also come from regional lawmakers. Johnny Simanjuntak, a member of the DPRD from Jokowi’s party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), criticized him for being too frank, saying that the governor’s abrasive style had caused a stir in the city administration, but there had not been much change in the quality of services to the public.

He pointed out that many of Jakarta’s programs are not executed well, including flood and traffic management, because directions from top officials don’t make it as far as lower-level employees on the ground.

Ahok told GlobeAsia he acknowledged the criticism but said he would not change his style. His main focus, he said, is to do his best as governor and serve the people of Jakarta.

“I can handle criticism. The only thing they (the protestors) can do is not elect me for the next term. So I am focusing on my remaining three years so I can prove to them that I did something,” he said with a smile.

“I don’t ever think about my image. What’s in my heart and what comes out of my mouth are the same. Do you need someone with substance or someone with a polished skin?” he asked. Yet he indicated that some of the barbs have got to him.

“The only problem is that people out there still cannot accept the fact that I, with slanted eyes and a Christian, can be governor.”

“Most importantly, don’t oppose me just because I’m a Chinese-Christian, that’s not fair. Judge me for my work,” he said, adding that he is accustomed to tough times. He was conceived in a heated environment when the crisis over the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) broke in 1965.

Popularity was never the aim of the geological engineering graduate. He intends to be himself, warts and all.  “Once you become a public official, it is tiring if you play a role to maintain a good image. One day your true character will be discovered. I never pretend about who I am. I have always been like this.”

His aide Sakti Budiono is perfectly happy with Ahok’s leadership skills. His boss does not beat around the bush and knows exactly what he has in his mind. “He lets us work with our own creativity and improvisation as long as we get the job done,” said Sakti.

A future leader of Indonesia?

While the leadership race ended in July with the victory of Jokowi, many have speculated that Ahok could be Indonesia’s next leader. Ahok did not deny his ambition to become president.

“The best way to improve our country is by being president. If there are better people than me, than I would not run but if there is no better person then why shouldn’t I run for the sake of this country,” he said.

Ahok, who once planned to flee to Canada after the anti-Chinese riots of 1998, said Indonesia remains a democracy. The people, he said, represent a power that cannot be overlooked and he strongly believes that Jokowi will be able to guard democracy. As for his own prospects of future high public office, Ahok said that is a matter of fate. “In Islam, we say Wallahualam” – it all depends on God’s will.

Turning philosophical, he added that nobody knows what will happen in their lives. His own life, becoming Jakarta governor with only a limited political background, and that of Jokowi, who shot to the presidency, showed how life can bring surprises.

“We don’t know about our lives and when we will die. We just do what we can do best. For me, at least I can have a painting of my photograph hanging in City Hall,” he said with a laugh.

One of the obstacles to further office is his lack of party backing. He said he’s relieved to have quit the Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, which had supported the Jokowi-Ahok ticket for the race for governor against the pairing of incumbent Fauzi Bowo and Nachrowi Ramli.

Now, he said, he has more time to work and does not need to attend any political party events, which in the past meant he had to work during the weekends. Running for president in the future is a long way away, and who knows what could happen in that time.

With additional reporting by Muhamad Al Azhari

GlobeAsia’s cover January 2015

Related Articles:

Newly inaugurated Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, left, shakes hands
 with President Joko Widodo, and both are accompanied by their wives at the
Presidential Palace on Nov. 19, 2014. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

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